How to Remove Wallpaper and the Tools You'll Need

Photo of someone removing wallpaper with a metal scraper and a spray bottle

You love your new house, but the moment you laid eyes on the wallpaper in the guest room, you knew it had to go. The day has come, and you’re ready to remove the wallpaper.

Before you begin, stock up on the proper tools, which vary depending on the type of wallpaper you’re dealing with. Use this guide to help you identify your wallpaper and remove it with ease.

The Tools You Need to Remove Wallpaper

No matter what type of wallpaper is installed in your home, you need the following for a successful project:

  • Old towels: Use these to cover and protect your baseboards.
  • Plastic drop cloths: Lay these over the towels and tape them to the baseboards to prevent messy strips from getting all over the floor.

Removing Different Types of Wallpaper

Apart from basic supplies, the tools used for taking off wallpaper differ depending on the type you have. Here are the possible contenders:

Strippable Wallpaper

Everyone knows that removing wallpaper is a pain. Thankfully, manufacturers considered this in recent years, so new wallpaper is strippable and relatively easy to remove. If you know the wallpaper in question was hung in the last few years, you may be in luck.

All you need to remove strippable wallpaper is a ladder to help you reach high places and a razor knife in case the paper is stubborn. Other than that, you can plan to remove the wallpaper by hand.

Peelable Wallpaper

Peelable wallpaper features a vinyl topcoat that usually comes off as easily as strippable wallpaper. Once you remove this, only the backing remains. You’ll need these tools to remove it:

  • Liquid stripper concentrate: Mix this with hot water according to the manufacturer’s directions. The purpose of this product is to soften the glue so you can remove the wallpaper.
  • Broad brush or sprayer: Apply the liquid stripper it to the wall with either of these tools, working from the top down one section at a time.
  • Plastic scraper: After allowing the liquid stripper to soften the wallpaper for a few minutes, strip it away with a scraper.
  • Coarse sandpaper or a scoring tool: If the paper won’t absorb the stripper, scuff up the surface with one of these tools. Wet the paper again and let it soak for 30 minutes before attempting to scrape it again.

Washable Wallpaper

Washable wallpaper features a plastic film that doesn’t peel off easily. For this job, you’ll need the following tools:

  • Scoring tool: You must break through the plastic film with this tool, which makes tiny holes in the wallpaper for water to enter.
  • Spray bottle or pump sprayer: Soak the wallpaper with water, aiming your sprays at the slits you made with the scoring tool.
  • Putty knife: Wait for about 10 minutes, and then scrape the paper off with this tool.

Removing Wallpaper with Steam

Older peelable or washable wallpaper may require steam-stripping. Fortunately, you can rent a wallpaper steamer rather than purchasing one to keep the cost down.

You can avoid the need to remove wallpaper by knocking down that interior wall altogether. This creates an open-concept living space that makes your home feel bigger and serves your needs better.

Professional Wallpaper Removal

Removing wallpaper can take all day – and that’s only if you have one room to deal with! If you don’t have the patience, schedule wallpaper removal service with Five Star Painting. After we strip the unsightly patterned paper from your walls, we can apply a fresh coat of interior paint to complete the makeover. To learn more, please contact us today!